- 7 Ways News Media are Becoming More Collaborative
With the turn of the decade, the news media are seeing shifts from hyper competition to collaboration. News organizations are partnering to produce the news, while journalists are working with the audience to bring them content that they demand.
Media mavens too are hoping for more collaboration in the coming year, perhaps with more action from media executives as well. And though old media may be slow to change, there are a few glimpses of tools, partnerships and models that show how news media are becoming more collaborative.
1. Curating and Filtering the Stream
We’ve already talked about the importance of journalists being curators and contextualizers using collaborative tools like Publish2. News consumers have created a social link economy from sources that they trust: their friends. The editor has been replaced by a friend on Facebook or someone you trust and follow on Twitter.
Lyn Headley and Steve Farrell developed The Hourly Press, which uses Twitter’s API to track popular stories of the hour based on link sharing from a “publisher’s” or user’s select group of “editors” that they follow on Twitter. It helps filter the noise and see what the people of your choosing find important.
“We’re at the intersection of a more traditional, top-down editorial model and a direct democracy or crowd-edited approach,” Headley said.
The Hourly Press also gives the user a way to catch up on news they might have missed without having to read a lot of tweets, Headley said. Because “editors” are selected by a user, it lets people know who the influential people are in a community. Right now Hourly Press is available per request.
2. Working With the Audience
Journalists are relying on the former audience more than ever to create content and curate the news stream. But perhaps a move toward creating a more established collaborative relationship with the audience is in order.
Jay Rosen, who teaches journalism at NYU, sketched out an idea for ExplainThis.org, where readers ask questions that can be answered by journalists through reporting. This isn’t just a search or a Yahoo! Answers kind of service, but ones that take “real journalism” to answer the question well, Rosen said in his outline. Users would not only be asking the questions, but part of the process. This is also content that is completely based on what users want and are looking for.
3. Collaborative Tools like Google Wave
Google Wave is beginning to change the way newsrooms create news and the way we consume it. But it is also allowing the ability for news organizations to collaborate with the “former audience.” Robert Quigley, the social media editor at the Austin American-Statesman, said he sees comments on stories becoming a “living, breathing thing with people jumping into a breaking story with live updates and thoughts.” He said he’s big on Google Wave, in part, because waves can be embedded and have the potential to serve as live wikis.
Mathew Ingram, the communities editor at the Globe and Mail, said Google Wave is another tool that makes it easier for people “formerly known as the audience” to take part in the news gathering process.
To drive collaboration as a point, I used Google Wave to collaborate, interview and discuss some of these ideas (and others) with most of those mentioned in this post. I outlined some starting discussions of trends that are emerging, which served as a launching point for discussion. The Wave generated more than 100 wavelets, or messages. The format worked well (aside from Wave crashing several times).
4. Social News Partnerships
One form of collaboration that is becoming more prevalent is news organizations partnering with other companies or institutions, including social sites. We’ve seen this with the MSNBC deal with the @BreakingNews Twitter account and a partnership between Fark and USA Today.
“Could USA Today build its own Fark-esque site? Yes. Would that be ‘doing what it does best?’ No. Hence, they should work together,” Cohn said.
Andrew Nystrom, social media editor at the Los Angeles Times, said that Fark partnered with their news organization too because they decided they weren’t very good at reporting “straight, hard news,” and so they worked with the LA Times on a custom feed of the funniest LA Times headlines.
5. Large News Partnering With Blogs
We’re also seeing more larger news organizations partnering with smaller organizations that cover specific subjects or communities really well. News organizations are hungry for more content and are trying to move further into covering local communities.
Paul Bradshaw, course director of the MA Online Journalism program at Birmingham City University noted the example of the Guardian’s move to build up its local news coverage by hiring local bloggers and sites like MySociety.
6. Local News Organizations Team Up
Local news organizations are also beginning to work together as they cut back on budgets and look for ways to fill in the gap in content. We’ve seen this between local TV stations and newspapers, but now there are examples of longtime newspaper competitors sharing sports coverage and news organizations sharing one another’s space and resources. There’s also the example of the Miami Herald creating a network of community news sources and republishing the stories on one another’s sites.
In some cases news organizations are even pooling resources to contribute to social media. Eleven international news media, for example, joined to collaborate on updating a Facebook page dedicated to covering United Nation’s climate conference in Copenhagen.
7. University Partnerships
University journalism programs are also playing a bigger role than just educating journalists, but producing content creators while they are still in school. Carrie Brown-Smith, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Memphis, also points to the collaborative efforts between universities and news organizations, such as the Bay Area News Project, a partnership between Berkley’s Graduate School of Journalism and a public radio station.
“However, I’ve found that, understandably, ceding even a modicum of control to students/professors does not come easily, even when news organizations are facing down a situation in which there are a serious deficit of boots on the ground,” Brown-Smith said.
More journalism resources from Mashable:
- 10 News Media Content Trends to Watch in 2010
- 8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist
- 10 Ways Journalism Schools Are Teaching Social Media
- The Journalist’s Guide to Twitter
- Why NPR is the Future of Mainstream Media
- Social Journalism: Past, Present, and Future
- Everything I Need to Know About Twitter I learned in J School
- 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy
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